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ELM to pay millions to unqualified manager

THG has learned that Emakhazeni Local Municipality (ELM) have, in a closed-session, special council meeting - convened on 16 September 2014, appointed Mr. Lucas Sindane as their new Technical Services Manager for a five-year term. This by itself, is not newsworthy. What is newsworthy, however, is that, in terms of the law, Sindane is not qualified to hold this position and, accordingly, is further not entitled to earn an annual salary of R682 233 – a total of R3 411 165 for the full five-year period of his employment.

“Nice work if you can get it” are the words that come to mind. And people can and do “get it” all the time. But those people hold one or more of the requisite qualifications mandatory for their posts. Not so with Mr. Sindane. According to a copy of Sindane’s CV in THG’s possession, apart from some part-time work over a period of time with the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Sindane spent 14 years as an ordinary teacher at Belfast’s Khayalami Secondary School before taking up a position with the Department of Transport as a Road Safety Officer for a further eight years. No civil engineering, no mechanical engineering, no construction, no electrical, no water, no waste management, etc. experience or qualifications of any kind. None. Yet he has nonetheless been appointed – a “done deal”.

But why a closed-session council meeting to handle this appointment? Does ELM have something to hide? What’s the secret? Could it be that Mr. Sindane’s appointment is in direct contravention of the Municipal Systems Act of 2000? - section 8.1 of which states:

No person may be appointed as a senior manager on a fixed term contract on a permanent basis, to any post on the approved staff establishment of a municipality, unless he or she :
    (a) is a South African citizen or permanent resident ; and
    (b) possesses the relevant competencies, qualifications, experience and knowledge  set out in Anexures A and B to these regulations.

Whereas THG has been reliably informed that there were only three applicants for the position and Sindane was considered to be the best of those, the appointment remains not only improper, but also illegal. The mere fact that only three individuals chose to apply for the position is no basis for appointing what can only be seen as “the best of a bad bunch”. Perhaps it is time that the ordinary citizens of ELM reminded their esteemed Mayor, Cllr. X.S Ngwenya of his own words in his recent 2014 budget speech wherein he reminded residents that ELM was “an indigent municipality” and further urged them to “cut their trousers to size” in a bid to convince residents that money is tight. Not surprising in light of the fact that ELM can nonetheless seemingly still afford to pay multi-million rand salaries to municipal employees who are patently unqualified to hold their positions.